VERO BEACH — The Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition (HSC) invites the public to a Luncheon and Annual Meeting, 11:30 a.m. on Monday, November 9, 2009, at the Club at Pointe West. The featured speaker at the luncheon is Kyra Oliver, who launched a nationwide This Side Up campaign in 2006. The campaign is designed to educate new mothers on the importance of keeping babies This Side Up for safe sleep and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
This Side Up became the heartfelt mission of Kyra Oliver after the sudden, tragic death of her 4 ½ month-old son Hayes. The baby had been under the care of a babysitter and Oliver was reluctant to bring up the subject of SIDS. She established the Hayes Foundation in her son’s honor in the hopes of sparing others from such a tragedy.
The premise of This Side Up is a simple one – distribute baby onesies and sleepers with a critical message to the parents of newborns. The sleepwear reads “This Side Up…While Sleeping” on the front as a reminder to parents, grandparents, babysitters and other caregivers, that babies are safest sleeping on their backs. It also features other tips on the back of the sleepwear that help reduce the risk of SIDS.
The This Side Up campaign has partnered with hospitals and health organizations to spread its message, and this past spring former Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant and his wife Melissa, whose son Tryson died of SIDS, helped kick off an Orlando campaign. Oliver has been featured in Parents, Women’s World and U.S. News & World Report, has received numerous national awards, and has served on the boards of Commonwealth Parenting Center, River City Express Network and Business Networking International.
The Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition supports Prenatal, Newborn and Healthy Family Programs through partnerships within the community. Coalition services include Individual and Group Parenting, Nutrition and Pregnancy Education, Care Coordination, Breastfeeding Counseling, Infant Safety (Safe Sleep, SIDS, Shaken Baby Syndrome), Lamaze Instruction, Sibling Integration, Mental Health Counseling, Baby Calming Instruction and Medicaid Assistance. The Healthy Start Coalition also provides referrals to partners in the community who provide food, clothing, domestic violence assistance, homeless shelter, and car seat safety inspection/installation.
The ticket price for the luncheon and speaker is $25. The annual meeting will commence following the luncheon.